Since ancient times, a little insurance has been a wise policy. The philosopher William James wrote, "It is only by risking . . . that we live at all." Right. And would you want to ride in a car with him driving? If you did, wouldn't you want to make sure your assets were covered?
Babylonian code talks of bottomry, whereby one sending goods on a ship—the "bottom"—could borrow money, with loan forgiven if ship is lost.
On the island of Rhodes, shippers are reimbursed if any of their cargo is jettisoned at sea. Rhodes scullers not covered.
After the Great Fire of London, English economist Nicholas Barbon founds the first fire insurance company.
Franklin Health Assurance Co. of Massachusetts offers coverage against railroad and steamboat accidents.
Dr. Truman J. Martin of Buffalo, N.Y., buys the first auto liability policy in the United States, paying $11.25 to cover his 3-horsepower Oldsmobile. Friends urge him to shop for a better rate.
Cross-eyed silent film comedy star Ben Turpin takes out a $20,000 policy in case his eyes go straight. Visionary move is first in long line of policies covering celebrity body parts, including Betty Grable's legs, Jimmy Durante's nose, and Gene Simmons's tongue.
To learn how you can save on auto, home, and life insurance through AAA, visit AAA.com/insurance .
This article was first published in September 2008. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.